What is a Soot Blower?
A soot blower is a piece of auxiliary equipment for removing the soot deposits within a boiler to keep it running safely and efficiently. Different soot blowers are utilized in the different areas of your industrial boiler, each with unique benefits.
Compressed air and steam are the two primary mediums for removing soot, with steam being more popular because it has a lower cost than the capital required for compressors, motors, and control of air systems. Once the soot is dislodged, it is carried away through the system by flue gas and ends up in a dust collector or expelled through the smokestack.
Why Soot is Bad
Whenever you run your industrial boiler, soot, a carbon-based material, accumulates as a byproduct of combustion and sticks to the walls and surfaces of your boiler.
Soot is a natural insulator, meaning it does not conduct heat efficiently. This can reduce the efficiency of your boiler by blocking some of the heat from traveling through the system. Additionally, soot can cause fires and damage your system if not cleaned properly.
Types of Soot Blowers
Wall Soot Blowers
A wall blower is one of the simplest types of soot blowers. A wall blower is a small piece of equipment that connects to the exterior of the boiler. A short nozzle can enter the boiler and expel hot steam or compressed air to clean the surrounding area. The nozzle retracts when not in use, making wall blowers ideal for areas that reach high temperatures.
A wall soot blower’s simplicity offers advantages and shortcomings compared to other soot blowers. As a benefit, wall blowers are often small in size, taking up little precious real estate in areas around your boiler. One downside is that wall soot blowers can only clean a small section. Most industrial boilers require multiple wall blowers and may use other forms of soot blowers to clean everywhere that soot accumulates.
Long Retractable Soot Blowers
A long retractable soot blower (LRSB) is a device that extends a long “lance” or nozzle into the boiler. The LRSB starts at the beginning of the boiler and slowly moves through it, rotating 360 degrees to remove soot from all surfaces. Once the cleaning is complete, the lance withdraws – perfect for high-temperature areas.
The clear advantage of this application is that a single device can clean a much larger area than a wall blower. Covering a large area could reduce the total number of blowers necessary to remove soot in your boiler, simplifying your system. On the other hand, a long retractable soot blower must store the long lance and often takes up considerably more space than a wall blower.
Air Heater Soot Blowers
Air heater soot blowers are designed to clean the air heaters of your boiler. Over time, moisture accumulates at the cold end of your air heater when the flue gas temperature falls below the condensation point. This moisture mixes with soot and other byproducts, creating a fine-grain deposit.
Air heater soot blowers are installed on the cold end of your air heater and can consist of retractable blowers or blowers with nozzles installed on swinging arms. The device will move across the face of your air heater, while a swinging arm will move in an arc across the face of the heat transfer surface, cleaning a large area.
Rotary Soot Blowers
A rotary soot blower is affixed to the boiler and does not retract like other types of blowers in this list. Instead, the blowing tube/element of the blower remains in the boiler at all times. This tube is often equipped with multiple nozzles and rotates to clean a large portion of the boiler.
Because they do not retract, rotary soot blowers cannot be used in the high-temperature areas of your boiler. Rotary soot blowers are ideal for the superheater, the economizer, and the air heater.
Choosing the Right Soot Blower
At Industrial Boilers America, we are leading the way to zero waste by developing, deploying, and licensing superior soot blowers manufactured at a fraction of the cost of our competitors.
Let us help you choose the right soot blowers to keep your boiler running efficiently and safely for years to come. Contact us today.